Baby Jackson's chameleon housing

SJ6860

New Member
Hello,

I have a female Jackson's chameleon who gave birth to 18 baby chameleons out of the blue last Thursday. She was from Petco (where I work) and was cohabited with a male for a long time and had a round of babies about 5 or so months ago. I was not at all expecting to come home from college to find 19 chameleons! They were promptly separated into a spare screen cage within half an hour of me finding them.

All of them are still alive and seem to be doing well, everyone is eating their fruit flies and drinking plenty of water (I offer more flies 3-5 times daily and mist them with distilled water every time I feed them). I currently have all 18 living together in a zilla fresh air screen habitat wrapped with Saran Wrap on three sides with a few fake plants, sticks, and a live money tree inside. They have a linear UVB light and I am heating them with a 40 watt bulb during the day.

Now, I also have a spare cage (an exoterra 18x18x24 all glass enclosure) and a spare heat lamp and 40 watt bulb. I know that adult chameleons need a screen enclosure, but I've heard some people use glass cages with success for neonates. So, my question is, should I split them into the two cages so they can have more space or leave them in the screened cage? The two cages would have to share a UVB lamp (half on one cage, half on the other) since I only have one reptile at a time and do not want to spend a good $70 on another UBV lamp. I've already purchased a third heat lamp and bulb, dumb cane plant, vines, and fake plants for the glass cage in case I end up putting eight or so in there since they keep flaring and walking on top of each other. These babies were not planned or expected, so I am doing the best I can for them with what I have and buying as little as possible. My boss is also not offering any help even though this is entirely her fault, but to be honest I wasn't expecting anything else from her.

Thank you!
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
The enclosure equipment could be an investment until you can sell the babies to make back your money. Then you will have two things, 1) spare equipment for your main enclosure and 2) extra equipment if this happens again since they can retain sperm to have more babies.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
The plastic tub method can save you some money if you happen to have one around. I prefer glass for newborns/hatchlings for a few reasons. One they can't climb up to the top like they do screen and get too close to the lights and there is less variation in the temperatures and humidity. Wrapping your screen cage like you did can help.
I don't have a problem with your neonates sharing a lighting set between two cages because they seem to need less than they will in a few months. This is not fair to do to an adult though so I would have a dedicated lighting set for the female who will be delivering again in 2-4 months. Your 40 watt bulb will need to be kept up high and used sparingly these guys tend to over heat and dehydrate easily.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is a @JacksJill question. I think I read somewhere that the female can have 3 generations growing inside her at the same time?
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
Females not currently re-exposed to males have had as many as 4 consecutive litters but usually only two or three. I'm don't know if retained sperm is the correct description or if they just develop the fertilized ova in batches.
This goes more into the details:
 

Tihshho

Established Member
One thing I'm working on for my Xanth's and Jacksonii are rubbermaid bins that will be bioactive to support the babies for the first few months. Ideally, I'd like to split the offspring up into groups of no more than 5 in a 12"x18"x14" tub that will have the top vented and have mesh glued in. I'm also testing out a few vent/window options right now to see the average humidity/temp readings that I get so I can work towards one design to pump out and have ready and waiting. Bases will be drilled for a bulkhead and standoffs put in place to create a false bottom for the ABG substrate to drain. When it comes to the plants, I'm collecting a bunch of Pothos so that I can split up the plants (generally more than one in a pot) as well as Spider plants to plant in the ABG and for them to be lightly ziptied to a trellis so that there will be enough broken lines of sight, source for humidity as well as springtails and other isopods for feces management and additional food items when the fruit flies temporarily run out of the enclosure.

This thread has been a source of inspiration:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/first-baby-bin-what-do-you-think.132950/

Perk of the bins is that I can have them running all the time and just have them setup on a wire rack and have the misting system tied into my main MistKing setup. After a few months (ideally), unless I see early aggression, I plan to move the offspring to individual DIY enclosures that I've worked out which are custom clones of a lot of the off the shelf brands like ZooMed or ExoTerra. From what I've found, you can crank out a few cages for the price of a single cage that happens to have a few parts that have the brand's name molded into certain plastic parts. Babies will be moved from the bins to 18x18x36 enclosures post the 4-5 month mark.
 

Tihshho

Established Member
I considered that option, but I wasn't sure if there was enough space per cham for that solution, mainly when it came to basking gradients.
 
Top Bottom